The above photograph was taken on my last trip to Poland. I was walking alone along the beach heading towards a restaurant where I suppose to meet my friend. I had some time left, and when I saw a little place selling smoked fish, I took out my camera. The sun was setting. It was a warm evening, and I was looking forward to meeting my old friend. I can recall many more details related to this moment. This photograph helps me to uncover the context. A conversation with someone could provide similar assistance, but I was alone, so this memory belongs to my autobiographical set.
When we try to recall something, it is hard to start from the details without first remembering the context. Sometimes, however, a single element – a smell or a sound can recreate an experience in an instance. We go through the same process when we recall a smokehouse near the beach or set of skills used on a project.
Every time we need to update résumé we have to do a bit of time travel. In this case, reach for our autobiographical memories. If we are organized, we do this when there is a new role or a project to record. However, the majority make updates only when there is a significant change in the employment scene – in other words when we look for another job. It is not fun, and perhaps that is why we don’t feel the urge to keep the record current.
The autobiographical memory research suggests three layers of how we store our autobiographical knowledge. First, we have a high-level view or the long periods of time which may last decades. When I lived in another country is a good example. Next is the middle layer, the time when I was working for a book publisher. This segment of memory is measured in weeks or months. The last portion of this hierarchy looks at the smallest chunks of memory, event-specific moments that lasted minutes or even seconds.
Let’s assume we need to add a new role to a résumé. A position that lasted for two years and evolved into a new role still with the same employer. As we add more and more experiences, we often have difficulties to recall them. The memories are getting foggier and foggier. It is especially hard to remember assignments that are similar. We remember well unique projects, but after one hundred related tasks it is challenging to distinguish singular events.
Why and how do we forget? This is related to how memory is encoded. For the work that was done in the past: who we worked with, what was the project about? Can we relive the experience? Those essential cues can lead to a moment when a dormant memory suddenly become active, and we can retrieve many details about the experience or save (encode) it.
Skills are the primary focus for all of us at TeamFit. Skill Management, as the name suggests, is concerned with the way we can organize skills. But before we can arrange anything, it makes sense to connect skills to a project or a role. It is much simpler first to remember how the work was proceeding, who we worked with, what was the outcome – the context. Once the experience is alive in our mind, it is much simpler to decide what skills we applied to solve the challenge.
One thing we need to be aware of is something called a retrospective bias. Very often, when thinking about the past, we tend to apply a false judgement to the level of skills we used at that time. In most cases, if we continue using this ability and now we are at let’s say an expert level, we will apply a higher rating to indicate the level at which we started using the skill in question. With enough data to look at, our AI engine can compensate for it, and of course, the latest record matters the most.
The Experience model we are working on helps the user to relive the past by asking the right questions. Questions about the people we worked with, the location, the project and our role help to focus on the set of skills. Subjects related to the evidence—what can we say about a capability to add the strength to our claim—helps to uncover the past. We try to follow the natural path of how autobiographical memories are stored.
Many studies point to the fact that rehearsing a story or telling a story multiple times helps to encode the experience better. As we get more connected to a past event, we tend to add more details.
For the users, the process turns into a better understanding who we are in not only in our professional life but in general. How all of those loose bits of the past assignments contribute to a unique set of skills that allow us to look into a future. What are the projects that we want to work on? What is my dream role? And lastly, what skills do I need to develop to get there?
For the manager, TeamFit Skill Map based on the Experience Model allows to see how a person developed the skills that she or he uses the most, but more interestingly, understand the career path. Once again, the past informs the future.
An understanding of the past is an excellent measure to inform decisions we are about to make. TeamFit takes it to another level by suggesting skills based on what other users in a similar role claimed. We also look at the demand for a specific skill set in a particular location or industry. Combined, this is a pretty good insight for both, the individual user as well as the company. Since TeamFit is an online tool, it is simple to update skill record that stays current and provide an excellent view of individual and company level. The best thing about memories is making them.
Understanding the skills you have and the skills you need shouldn’t be so hard.
TeamFit can quickly and precisely give you the skill insights you have always wanted.
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